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>> huh. >> but obviously it was a bad attack. but a big, sophisticated attack is how this official is putting it. and they also said it could be international, or it could be domestic norwegian. again, very early to make that assumption or that conclusion. >> right. early hours, a lot of information still to come out. i appreciate it. . let's continue this breaking news coverage with my colleague wolf blitzer. a bombing shatters norway to its core. and a shooting at a youth camp. president obama asking for a dialling back of the demonizing. ten days before the deadline,
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one republican plan gets a firm smackdown in the u.s. senate. and some surprising new movement in the republican presidential race. we're going to tell you who's suddenly making a strong impression on potential voters. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." the breaking news this hour, a city known for peace making is reeling in terror. norwegian leaders holding a crisis meeting tonight after a deadly bomb attack in oslo and the shooting at a labor party youth camp outside the norwegian capital. at least seven people were killed in the explosion. at least nine were killed at the youth camp. there's been no official claim of responsibility. but local police say the two incidents are, in fact, linked. our brian todd is following the latest developments for us. brian, what do we know? >> wolf, officials say the explosion rocked the center of power in oslo. it occurred very near the prime minister's office and the oil ministry. both of which were severely damaged.
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this appears to be the first wave of almost unheard of violence in norway. a blast shakes the center of power in oslo, shaking the prime minister office. pictures show several win dose blown out. officials say the prime minister was not in his office at the time and escaped injury, but many others did not. also nearby, the norwegian supreme court, the finance and oil ministries. >> all of a sudden i hear a massive explosion, and massive clouds of smoke coming out the streets around the scene. and the blasts flying around. >> one journalist says buildings were damaged fife blocks away.
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picture after picture, dazed people are seen bleeding in the street. the scale of the explosion suggests this was not the work of amateurs. within minutes of the blast, so many people asked the question, why norway? but experts say norway has much stronger connections to the war on terror than many people realize. connection which is make it a logical target. norway is taking a part in nay co's bombing campaign against moammar gadhafi in libya. it's one of the country where is cartoons of the profit mohammed were reprinted in the newspaper, causing outrage in the community. that was cited by authorities as a potential interview when they say they found a bomb-making lab in oslo. and the leader of ansar al islam has been living in norway, but had a recent tangle with the government.
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>> norway charged individuals with incitement to violence and this is something that's now playing out, it will be playing out in norwegian courts. >> experts caution there's no definitive link at the moment between this bombing and those situations. police are saying a shooting incident at a youth camp run by the ruling labor party is probably linked to the bombing. that incident occurred at an island in northern norway. this official says police have reason to believe the two incidents are connected, but he would not give details. wolf? >> officials are trying to find answers right mao. what are you hearing? >> this could have been an international attack or originated locally. the official said there had been nothing to lead officials to believe that something was imminent in norway. >> the rueters correspondent
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allister doyle joins us now. where were you when the original explosion in downtown oslo occurred. >> from the prime minister's office where the blast went off, this building we heard a distant thud which alerted us immediately. it sounded more like an explosion, of course, than a crack of lightning or thunder. >> if you could clearly hear it, did you run over there yourself at some point? >> i've been out there to the street, yes, afterwards. but the police very rapidly cordoned off the area. and the whole place from about 200 meters down the street from where we are, the whole center of oslo is now cordoned off. the building has been severely damaged. the bomb went off apparently from the prime minister office and the oil ministry.
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>> reminds me a little bit of what i saw in oklahoma city in 1995. after that car bombing. i don't know if that's the sense that you get. right now, do we have any specific hard information that there have been some claims of responsibilities. norwegian authorities are taking those claims. >> well, the prime minister has been giving a news conference just now where a few minutes ago where they say they don't know who has attacked the country. one man has been arrested, however. a man who was dressed as a policeman in both central oslo and apparently went out to this island where the shooting was about 40, 50 kilometers from here. and they think is -- may have been the shooter there. the justice minister says he was
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a norwegian citizen. >> does he say he was a norwegian citizen of some an restry? have they gone into specifics like that? someone who may have had some political grudge, shall we say? >> they've given no other detail of this man except to say he was norwegian. there's no indication of, you know, where he -- if he's -- if he was born here or immigrated here or whatever. >> and the whole -- and when we say there were no advanced warnings, you've been there in oslo. i don't know how long you've been there. but have there been any heightened security concerns in norway in recent weeks or months. >> norway is really one of the most peaceful societies in the world. it's never had a terrorist attack. and, you know, the prime minister will wander around the streets armed with -- parentally, unguarded.
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you can see cabinet ministers wandering around the street without any real protection. there has been some protection because of some threats as you mentioned previously because of his involvement in afghanistan or iraq or perhaps the publications of some of these cartoons of the profit mohammed. >> we'll stay in touch with you. thanks very much for helping us. >> thanks a lot. >> obama spoke out about the attacks in norway from the white house not that long ago and he condemned the violence. >> we want to prevent this kind of terror from occurring. we have cooperated with both intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks.
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>> what's going on? >> so far no official request from norway for help, but a top counterterrorism official says you should expect to see both countries, they have a very close relationship. expect to see them share everything they can on intelligence. where might the norwegians start to look for clues? it whether start right on the streets of oslo. they will look at those buildings with or without u.s. help. they will look at the destruction. was that reinforced steel? was it reinforced concrete? how wide a area? that will help them calculate the size of the bomb, the power of the bomb. and they will get into bomb forensics, if you will. they will look at what kind of materials was used, what kind of
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axel rabbit, what kind of fuse. and they will look for clues. every bomb maker leaves a signature. will this be a shaped charge that al qaeda has used in the past which directs the blast of a bomb to a particular area? will there be signs in the construction of this bomb that al qaeda was possibly behind it or any other kind of bomb maker that very sadly we have seen operate around the world for the last ten years. a lot of work to be done. but officials know how to go about this business and they will look for clues in all of the wreckage. wolf? >> and those clues will be critical. we're approaching ten years, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 here in the united states. the u.s. has a lot of expertise as a result, and i assume given the close u.s. relationship with norway, all of that will be shared. >> absolutely. you should expect to see all of it shared. one thing people may not know is that the united states military and law enforcement community maintain a massive database of every ied, every bomb blast that
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has happened in the war zones of iraq and afghanistan, and whatever they can learn about any bomb blasts around the world. but those ied blasts, especially in afghanistan and in pakistan may groove to be critical, because again, a bomb maker leaves a signature. most bomb makers continue to make their bombs the same way until they are either killed or caught. so they're going to look to see if this matches any of the information that may be in that very classified u.s. database on bomb makers around the world. wolf? >> when you get more information, let us know, barbara, thank very much. and to our viewer, stand by for all breaking news on the deadly attacks in norway. we're not leaving the story for long. we're watching president obama, trying to pull voters into the debt limit drama as the clock winds down. we're taking a closer look at where the talks stand right now. and the long distance message he's sending republicans. and the people turn against a powerful and feared state
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d-day in america's debt crisis is fast approaching. but ten days before the deadline, the house speaker says political leaders are not even close to an agreement to raise the debt limit. a gop source says boehner has told republican lawmakers that the house would have to vote on legislation by wednesday to meet the deadline. that would mean getting a bill posted for review this monday. the democratic-run senate rejected a controversial plan to reduce the debt favored by house republicans. they dismissed the cut, cap and balance measure as a waste of time and distraction from further talks. the speaker john boehner and the house republicans met behind closed doors today, but at last word, no talks were scheduled between the congressional leadership and president obama.
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the what is the president's basic bottom line message? >> well wolf, the president was trying to convey a sense of urgency while at the same time prodding republicans to reach some kind of compromise. but he stated the obvious that this entire process is not easy and that ultimately a plan will make everybody, quote, somewhat unhappy. it's a deal that would raise the debt kreeling. >> the united states of america doesn't running out without paying the tab. we pay our bills. we meet our obligations. we have never defaulted on our debt. we're not going to do it now. >> this isn't about punishing wemt, it's asking the people who
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have benefited the most over the last decade to share in the sacrifice. this isn't some wild-eyed socialist position. i mean, this is a position that's being taken by people of both parties and no party. if we only did cuts and did not get any rev view to close the gap between how much money is coming in and how much is going out, then a lot of ordinary people would be hurt and the country as a whole would be hurt. and that doesn't make any sense. it's not fair. when asked this, the president suggested using the constitution to push the debt ceiling higher without using congress would be the easy way out.
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>> it would mean all of these conversations i've had over the last three weeks, i could have been spending time with malia and sasha instead. but that's not how our democracy works. >> and that's not what his legal advisers have told him is a winning argument. >> my challenge is i've got to get something past, i've goat to get 218 votes in the house of representatives. >> there's a potential deal including what we were talking about, $3 trillion in cuts, but nonetheless behind the scenes, there are these private talks. and as john boehner himself said, we're in the fourth quarter. >> interesting that he said he's got to get the votes in the house of representatives. apparently he's not as concerned about the senate. the real battle is going to be in the house with those house republicans. any scheduled meetings for this weekend? is he going to camp david? is he staying in town? what do we know. >> no scheduled meetings that we know of at this point. but we have not yet gotten the
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president's week ahead in terms of what he's planning to do. but as i pointed out, these discussions continue behind the scenes. and we wouldn't be surprised if we find out that something would be happening at the white house or elsewhere. >> it's interesting also that his lawyers disagree with former president bill clinton who said he could vf invoked the 14th amendment clause to raise the debt ceiling without any congressional legislation. his lawyers obviously disagree with bill clinton's lawyers on that sense of the subject. dan, thanks very much. if you get more information, let us know. grover norquist isn't a politician. he just may be, though, one of the most powerful figures behind the scenes of this entire debt limit debacle. he has pledges from hundreds of republicans vowing not tot raise taxes ever. i'll ask him what will happen if they go back on their word. and a tour bus crashes in flames in upstate new york. a soldier on leave. co-s to the rescue of trapped passengers. it's an incredible story. we'll share it with you.
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>> thoo just coming in, the prime minister of norway just spoke out about the deadly attacks in his country. >> the attack was bloody and cowardly. we do not know who attacked us. a lot remains uncertain. the next few days will demand a lot from us. we are ready to meet this challenge. i have a message from those who attacked us, you won't destroy us, you won't destroy our democracy.
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we're a small but proud nation. no one can bomb us into silence, no one can scare us from being norway. we'll take care of each other, that's what we do best when we're attacked. >> what's i think going on. >> a tour bus collided with a semitrailer. 30 people were injured. the tour bus driver will be charged for having a suspected license in new york state. and in the middle of the world's largest ocean, an amazing rescue story, a boat ride from one tiny island to another didn't go exactly as planned. 15 people including six children wound up on an uninhabited island after their small skip hit a reef and capsized tuesday.
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they were finally spotted after n they joined hands to make a huge sos on the beach. the u.s. navy will make history this year, hosting the opening game of the ncaa college basketball season on the usa carl vincent. michael jordan and magic johnson are the honorary game captains. >> i'm sure, wolf, you would want a ticket to that kbam. >> i would like that. >> a lot of celebrities including yourself. >> president obama says both sides need to give to get a deal on raising the debt limit. but many liberals say he's giving too much. senator bernie sanders tells me why he thinks some of the ideas on the table right now are
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disastrous. and the obama ed a med a takes step to end the don't ask don't tell policy.
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reporters is reporting that police are saying that undetonated exiplosives were found on that island where at least ten people on that island are dead. most of them we're told is youth. another seven people died in the explosions, the terror explosions in downtown oz lee near the government office buildings. 17 so far dead altogether. but we expect that number to go up. we're watching this story very closely.
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eel go to oslo live shortly for more. stand by for that. other news, president obama says both parties noo ed to sacrifice sop say red cows to raise the nation's debt limit and avoid a financial disaster only ten days from now. but some members of his own party says he's willing to give way too much on entitlements. social security, medicare. lisa sylvester is look into this part of the story for us for -- this part of the story for us. a lot of disappointment from the liberal side of the democratic party, at least as of now. >> that's right, wolf. some progressives and liberals are actually feeling a little betrayed. they didn't think they would see the day when you have a democratic if the talking about significant cuts to entitlement programs, and some of the president's party are not too pleased. neil saroka planned to get a degree on journalism, but he planned to put his plans on hold as served as the media director
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in south carolina and ohio. but as big of an obama fans he is, he's prepared to not lift a finger to help the president get re-elected if the white house backs cuts to medicare, medicaid or social security. >> it's so personal for me because when we talk about cuts to medicare, medicaid and social security, i think of my 90-year-old grandmother. she lives on social security and any cut to that social security check or any rise in her medicare premiums, that's a direct cut to her -- to what she needs to live on. it's 101 degrees right now. that means that she's going to be forced to pay more -- or pay more withless. and that's last thing we need to be doing in economic times like this. >> he works for the progressive change campaign committee a group that delivered to the obama campaign office 200,000 pledges from former supporters saying if you touch social programs, we're out. but entitlements are still on the table. many liberals and democrats feel president obama is giving away their sacred cows, while not
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insisting republicans concede on tax increases. >> unfortunately or fortunately, you're going to need democratic votes to pull a deal together. and to leave us on the sideline i think is fiscally not sport and politically not a very wise move. >> a new cnn orc poll shows 54% of people disapprove of the way obama is handling his job as president. 13% of those believe the president is not anybody ral enough. -- liberal enough. the president says he's still pushing for tax increases as part of the shared sacrifice and the best deal may be a deal that leaves no one satisfied. >> so is the white house worried about alienating his base? we asked the white house that question and he said, quote, there are tough choices on both sides that have to be made and that everyone will have to compromise. >> a lot of white house officials and obama supporters think in the end once there's a republican candidate, the liberal base will have no place else to go. they'll be okay. but that's a risk in terms of
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enthusiasm in all of this. >> right. we're saying we'll sit at home, we're not going to go out, we're not going to be knocking on doors. that's a big thing for your base. >> thank very much. and joining us now from capitol hill, the independent senator from vermont, senator bernie sanders. thanks very much for coming in. >> good to be with you. >> why did you vote today against this cut, cap and balance legislation that passed overwhelmingly in the house of representatives? >> because it's a proposal that would make drastic cuts in medicare, medicaid, social security and every program that has relevance to ordinary americans. look, the deficit is a serious problem, be uh you don't balance it on the backs of the weak and vulnerable. you don't back balance it on the backs of children by throwing them off health insurance or substantially cutting back on social security benefits. the way you do deficit reduction and what the american people have said in every single poll is you ask the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes.
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do away with loopholes that corporations are enjoying so while they make billions in profits they're not paying a nickel in taxes. you take a hard look at military spending. you don't do what right wing republicans want as that's to savage programs that people desperately need. >> i want to play for you a little bit of what the speaker said. >> if they don't like our version of cut, cap and balance, guess what? that's what the legislative process is for. they can amend it. they can change it. they can send it back over to the house. and frankly, they've got to take action on that bill. >> what do you say? >> i did take action on the bill. i voted against it. it is a disaster. again, when the richest people in this country are getting richer but mr. boehner is saying sorry, we're not going to ask
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them to pay a nickel more in taxes, when large corporations make billions of dollars in profits and pay nothing in tax, mr. boehner is saying oh, no, i don't want them to pay any more in taxes. but when it comes to destroying social security and asking an 85-year-old to pay $1,000 a year -- lose $1,000 in social security benefits in 20 years, mr. boehner thinks that's a good idea. throwing people off of medicaid when we already have 50 million people without insurance, mr. boehner sthis that's a good idea. we have differences of opinion. every poll i've said, wolf, says the american people want shared sacrifice. they do not want to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the sick, the children or the middle class. >> would you be open to some sort of deal that the president might work out with the house speaker in order to avoid this august 2 default deadline, a deal by which there would be significant spending cuts right now, but any tax increases would be punted?
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would be kicked way down the road in order to get it passed? are you open to that? >> no. that would be a disaster. and again, a proposal like that is what the american people have said over and over again. only a small minority of people apparently right here in washington, d.c., think that it makes sense to attack social security when social security hasn't contributed one nickel to our deficit to cut back on medicare, to cut back on medicaid, to cut back on education. i do not support that proposal. and the idea that pushing down the road at some point in the indefinite future maybe will raise some revenue, i think that's absurd and way out of line with what the american people want to see happen. >> you know, the president has said publicly, he's open to making some reductions, some significant changes in medicare, social security, medicaid for that matter, means testing. he's raised that possibility. changing the cost of living
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index. are you with the president on that? >> no, absolutely not. and i think we're getting a whole lot of calls in vermont. and i suspect members of congress in the senate are getting the same calls. you know what, wolf, go back to the records. find out what barack obama was running for president. what he said when he's running for president was john maccain wants to cut your social security, not me. i'm not going to do it. i'm going to stand with the middle class of the country. the president should go back and read the speeches he gave when he was running for president. there's a massive amount of disappointment. let me get back to social security. social security is funded by the payroll tax. it has a $2.6 trillion surplus. it can play out every benefit owed to every eligible american for the next 25 years, why in god's name in the middle of a recession would you cut back on social security? this is what the right-wing republicans have wanted for decades. and it saddens me very much that
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the president is going back on his promise to the american people and is apparently succeeding to the republican request 37. >> do you almost feel betrayed by this president? >> welsh it's not just me. when somebody runs for office and says i am not going to cut social security, and then 2 1/2 years later says oh, i am going to cut social security. it's not just me. i think there are millions of people who think the president said one thing and did another thing. massive disappointment in this country. >> what are you going to do about it. there could be a default. interest rates could go up, unemployment would go up, the value of the dollar would go down. that would be an across the board burden on everybody in america. >> that's right, no question about it. and it's incomprehensible to me that the republicans today are holding our entire economy hostage on this debt ceiling issue when during the bush years, you will recall, when we
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increased the national debt by $5 trillion, they had no problem about raising the debt ceiling seven different times. seven times, $5 trillion increase. but right now, the world is coming to an end, they can't do it. i think the good news is that our good friends on wall street who have caused this recession and the big money interests, they know that they're going to lose a whole lot of money also if we default. they're beginning to put pressure on the republican leadership and i think they are powerful enough to make the republicans understand that the default is not a good idea. >> senator sanders, thanks very much for coming in. >> an historic day at the pentagon. the military's historic don't ask don't tell policy is a step closer to being officially gone. some former gay service members though are not all that happy. we'll tell you why.
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the pentagon is putting its seal of approval on the repeal of the u.s. military's controversial don't ask-don't tell policy. the been a on openly gay and lesbian service members could be gone within 60 days.
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chris lawrence has the latest. historic day today, chris. what's the latest? >> about two hours ago, president obama signed a certification and sent it back to congress one of the final steps towards totally eliminated don't ask don't tell. >> gay and lesbian troops will serve openly, but some benefits will still be denied. >> the defense of marriage act prohibit extension of many military benefits to same-sex couple ps .. >> president obama, defense secretary leon panetta and mike mullen all signed a document certifying it won't harm military rez diness. >> the fact that a political promise is being carried out by political appointees, the joint chief of staff and the secretary of defense should be no surprise to anyone. >> at ease, everybody. >> officials for the center of military readiness said the president used the military to
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advance a social agenda. >> president obama now has complete ownership oof what he has now made into a san francisco lgbt military. >> and even some gay former service members admit the repeal only means they can apply to get back in the military. >> for the 14,000 that were thrown out like myself, or the tens of thousands that were thrown out before don't ask don't tell became a law in 1993, it really does nothing to help them or any type of restitution. >> the military has taught nearly two million troops hout to work under the new policy, but there were questions on everything, from benefits to housing. >> you know, he didn't want to live with his roommate because his roommate came out of the closet. that's not a reason to want to switch your room, sir. it needs to be an underlying circumstance more so than just because my roommate is a homosexual. >> some gay advocacy groups were invited to sit in on the training. >> i heard a lot of, what if i
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see somebody holding hands offbase. what if we see, you know, public displays of affection, pda, are we going to treat it the same. >> opposition to reform was highest among combat units and the marines, but some say that will fade with time. >> whether it was segregation in the past, the marine corps moved on and it's not an issue today. i think it will be the exact same thing 2010, 20 years down the road. >> now, gay and lesbian service members are being advised not to come out until mid september when the repeal takes full effect. now the issue of some troops getting certain housing and transportation benefits while others don't, that is going to take a lot longer to work out, wolf. >> so some of those gay and lesbian troops forced out in recent years, if they apply to come back in, will they automatically be allowed to come back into the military? or is there some sort of process they have to go through? >> no, they have to reapply, wolf. and you know, one of the other issues we've been covering so
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much is with the horrible economy we're in, a lot of troops are staying in. retention is high. they've got a lot of applicants. so getting into the military is not as easy as it was, say, you know, five years ago. >> chris lawrence, thanks very much. historic day over at the pentagon. he's not even in the presidential race, at least not yet, but the texas governor rick perry is almost at the top of cnn's latest poll. he's not the only candidate making waves. stand by. and the norwegian blast, does al qaeda have a beef with that scandinavian country? we're asking our experts. there's bugs, leaves, lint, crud. you'll be breathing that. i do believe it's part of a locust. make sure your alignments good. your brakes are good. you've got all sorts different things that you check off. your fluid levels. pretty much everything you could need. it gets done. it gets done quickly. and it gets done correctly. the works fuel saver package, just $29.95 or less after rebate. only at your ford dealer. you're a doctor. you're a car doctor. maybe a car doctor.
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really? 25 grams of protein. what do we have? all four of us, together? 24. he's low fat, too, and has 5 grams of sugars. i'll believe it when i--- [ both ] oooooh... what's shakin'? [ female announcer ] as you get older, protein is an important part of staying active and strong. new ensure high protein... fifty percent of your daily value of protein. low fat and five grams of sugars. see? he's a good egg. [ major nutrition ] new ensure high protein. ensure! nutrition in charge!
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>> the white house has just announced that the president of the united states will go into the briefing room over at the west wing of the white house at the top of the hour. about 11 minutes from now to make a statement. we don't know what it will be about, but presumably it will be about the latest negotiations on raising the nation's debt kreeling. -- ceiling. we'll have live coverage at the top of the hour. a little bit more than ten minutes from now. the president is scheduleded to go into the briefing room. we'll see what he has to say. we'll see if he takes questions or just makes a statement.
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stand by, we're watching it closely. in the meantime, let's get to the strategy session. jamal simmons is joining us. he's a principal at the raven group. and john fury. i assume the president has some announcement to assume he has an moumt to make or put pressure on the republicans. do you have inside information. >> i don't, but the white house has been really talking about how important it is. we saw the president out earlier in the town hall meeting. this looks like another example of him trying to push the negotiations to a close. >> that would be my guess. what do you think? >> a debt deal is good for the president and also house republicans. it's good for the country and good for the president and to include a deal to purr economic growth. >> without tax increases. a lot of democrats won't vote for it.
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sanders is an independent, but caucuses with the democrats. no tax revenue as they say he is not going along with it. >> he and the other liberals can get a deal and that would be great too. the reality is both sides are going to get something they don't like and hopefully the president and the country get something that works >> what are they have to do about machines from now assuming she on time. let's look at the brand-new poll. republican's choice for the nominee in 2012. this is out, this poll. romney stays on top at 16%. look at this. rick perry is 14%. rudy giuliani is not running. 13% with palin and 13% with michelle back nun and 12% everybody else in single digits. rick perry who we think will run is doing well. >> all the folks who are not
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running are doing well. maybe the lesson is don't run until you have to. perry could have a tough front-runner and solidifies the social conservative wing and knocks out michelle bachman. he will be a strong competitor. >> he knocks out. bachman is falling in the polls and perhe a successful career as a governor who can appeal to the social right. bachman has a thin record and goes to the voters. >> he has been governor for a long time. i find that t curious that it took him this long to get into the race. it takes a long time to put the organizationing to and a long time to get the networking to and to be jumping in the race at the end of the coupsummer. it's a long time to wait. if you want to be president of the us, you have to run. you can't wait for the moment. >> mitt romney did all the
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organizational stuff and got all the people out there. it's hard to start an organization from scratch in two months. that's what he is trying to do. >> you are celebrating your 40th birthday. >> i am. we are working on thea parks scholarship foundation and we are tweeting and talking about it. the scholarship foundation where people can give and hopefully raise a little bit of mone. cnn people helped. say happy birthday. we are going back live to norway soon. a journalist on the scene moments after the blast told us about the chaos that erupt and a political titan on the verge of falling. the all out effort to stop a lawmaker. we will see what's going on. stay with us much more coming up. we are standing by. the president of the united states will be going into the briefing room momentarily at the white house. we think he has a statement on
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the debt ceiling. we will have live coverage on "the situation room" tell us what you want to pay. we do our best to make that work. deal! my money. my choice. my meineke. i was worried about 'em, you know? i mean for instance my mom went to bed tonight before making my dinner. which is fine, i mean i, i know how to make dinner. it just starts to make you wonder. is this what happens when you age? my friends used to say i was the lucky one. i had the fun parents. where's the fun now? night, guys. [ sighs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] toyota venza. keep on rolling.
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we are standing by to hear from the president of the united states. he is getting ready to walk into the white house press briefing room and make an announcement. we believe an announcement on the debt ceiling negotiations. only 10 days to go before the united states potentially could default on all of its international obligations. the financial obligations we are watching closely to see what's going on. it's a tense moment obviously. we don't know what the president is going to say, but let's go to the chief correspondent in the briefing room. we are watching what's unfolding. do we have an indication of what the president is about to announce? >> we know he is going to make a statement about the debt ceiling. the offer was at some point made to speaker boehner and the ball in one person's wors is in the speaker's court. negotiators are waiting to hear
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become. there has been according to multiple sources and different parties, a stalemate at some different stages over issues related to taxes and entitlements and how the issues will be worked out. if they are to be worked out as part of this framework of a larger deal, one of the topics that i heard from democrats is that during various stages of these negotiations, they are keenly concerned that at different points, republicans have walked away with what democrats perceived as mere deals. that raises my antenna and said there is a degree of anxiety about the state of this near deal or possible deal. we will have to stay tuned and see where this stands. at this stage, a lot of tension on all sides. a lot of insistence that there is no deal. we will have to see what the president said in a few minutes >> let's remind our viewers how important this is. the stakes are clearly critical
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and explain briefly if you can to those viewers here in the united states and around the world, why this clock is ticking. >> we are just a little over a week away from the date, august 2nd when the united states runs out of money to pay our bills. at that point, we would start to default and have to make cruel and difficult decisions on where we cut back. as the president and so many people spelled out, we will either have to cut back on paying people social security or paying for various other obligations and see our interest rate guess up and various other payments we have to make go up. we can see our credit rating slide and have consequences for all of us. this is something that parties to each individually and the politicians because no doubt they would get the blame. the blame would go around everybody is trying to figure out a deal, but a deal that would hurt them politically the
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least. at this stage, it seems neither side is willing to give quite enough to cut something quickly. we have been told, wolf, that both sides agree to get a deal, they need some agreement by this sunday. that's the date, sunday by which something has to be locked in. >> stand by for a moment, jessica. >> as we await the president, let's go to capitol hill. kate baldwin is standing by. what are you hearing from your sores up on the hill? >> very important new this is evening, wolf. we learned from republican leadership sources here on the hill that speaker boehner has called president obama to tell him he was pulling out of the talks. out of the new yorks that they have been working so hard on over the past weeks now. in a letter that i have here that he is sending to his house members, it said "i have decided
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to end discussions with the white house and begin conversations with the leaders of the senate in an effort to find a path forward." according to the sources we have been speaking to, the focus now completely turns here on capitol hill. the sources say that the interests that they heard from the white house do not align with what they think the interests are of the congress in raising the debt ceiling and tackling the big issues that have been holding up the process they have been talking about. the speaker will be working with the leaders of the senate to find a path forward and while we are told by the sources that they aren't exactly sure what that path forward is, we are still told they maintain and they believe they need to have something to unveil to the members in the house by monday to have a vote and in order to get it to the senate and in order to beat this august 2nd deadline that we are coming upon. if i have a second, i can tell you how this unraveled. they tell us it came down to
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working towards a path of serious debt reduction they agreed on a framework and put things on the table. when the gang of six, according to the sources when the gang of six unveiled their plan on tuesday, they believed that the negotiations began to unravel and with the white house the dynamic according to them, they said the dynamic changed and the white house began to pull back on the things they said had been generally agreed to. that's where they stand at this point. >> right now they are reporting that the speaker of the house has informed the president that he is suspending calling off all of the negotiations to try to reach a compromise formula that would allow the united states to raise the debt ceiling by the august 2nd deadline, is that right? >> sluths right. we have been told in this briefing room they received, they will need to work hard over this weekend in order to find out what that compromise path
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forward is. these sources were pressed several times on what are you looking at? we were told they were making no judgments and assumptions they all agreed and made a point to emphasize this to show they were confident that they would reach a deal to beat this deadline. everyone involved, the leadership on the house and the leddership in the senate all agreed they need to come to an agreement that this is serious and they are confident they will find a compromise. >> the approximately will walk out within the next minute or two to the podium in the briefing room at the white house and make his announcement. i am sure he will express deep disappointment. this letter is a letter that boehner is sending to the republican members of the house? >> exactly right. going out is the way it was described to me. another line or two from the letter is that according to the letter, it's signed by john boehner and says the president
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is emphatic that taxes have to be raised as a businessman. increases destroy jobs and said the president is adamant we cannot make changes to the entitlement programs. as the father of two daughters, i know the programs won't be there unless action is taken now. you can see here john baner is trying to make the case why he now has to change the focus and why there is a shift of focus and now he said basically they abandoned the talks completely and now it's up to the house and the senate up here on the hill. >> we will see what the president has to say. he is gating ready to walk out within the next few seconds in fact. we will see if he answers reporters's questions no doubt the president deeply disappointed that the speaker of the house according to kate baldwin, now suspending t
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negotiations to come up with a modest or large scale agreement to allow the united states to go forward to raise the debt ceiling. they will make a statement momentarily. this is a dramatic moment. let's listen. >> good evening, everybody. i wanted to give you an update on the debt ceiling. i got a call about a half hour ago from speaker boehner who indicated he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we have been engaged in here at the white house for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package. i thought it would be useful for me to just give you some insight into where we were and why i think that we should have moved forward with a big deal. essentially what we had offered speaker boehner was over a trillion dollars in cuts to
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discretionary spending. both domestic and defense. we then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs. medicare, medicaid, social security. we believed that it was possible to shape those in a way that preserved the integrity of the system and made them available for the next generation and did not affect current beneficiaries in an adverse way. in addition, what we sought was revenues that were actually less than what the gang of six signed off on. a bipartisan group of senators including republicans who are in leadership in the senate calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the republican
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base line they were working off of. what we said was give us $1.2 trillion in revenues. that could be accomplished without hiking tax rates, but could be simply accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating deductions, and engaming in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base. let me reiterate what we were offering. we were offering a deal that called for as much discretionary savings as the gang of six. we were calling for taxes that were less than what the gang of six had proposed. we were calling for modifications to entitlement programs that would have saved just as much over the 10-year
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window this was a fair deal. it was unbalanced and unbalanced in the direction of not enough revenue but in the interest of being serious about deficit reduction, i was willing to take a lot of heat from my party and i spoke to democratic leaders yesterday and although they didn't sign off on a plan, they were willing to engage in serious negotiations. despite a lot of heat from a lot of interest groups around the country to make sure we actually dealt with this problem. it is hard to understand why speaker boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly if you look at the commentary out there, there a lot of republicans puzzled as to
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why it couldn't get done. in fact, there a lot of republican voters out there who are puzzled as to why it couldn't get done. because the fact of the matter is, the vast majority of the american people believe we should have a balanced approach. now, if you do not have any revenues as the most recent republican plan that's been put forward both in the house and the senate proposed, if you have no revenues at all, what that means is more of a burden on seniors, more drastic cuts to education, more drastic cuts to research, a bigger burden on services that are going to middle class families across the country. it essentially asks nothing of corporate jet owners and nothing of oil and gas companies. it asks nothing from folks like
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me. who have done well and can afford to do a little bit more. in other words, if you don't have revenues, the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle class families. the majority of americans don't agree on that approach. so here's what we are going to do. we have now run out of time. i told speaker boehner and i told democratic leader nancy pelosi. i told harry reid and mitch mcconnell i want them here at 11:00 tomorrow. we have run oust time and they are going to have to complain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. they can come up with any plans that they want and bring them up here and we will work on them. the only bottom line i have is that we have to extend this debt
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ceiling through the next election. into 2013. the reason for it is we have now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done: the economy is all right weakened and the notion that five or six or eight months from now we will be in a better position to solve the problem makes no sense. in addition, if we can't come up with a serious plan for actual deficit and debt reduction and all we are doing is extending the debt ceiling for another six, seven, eight months, then the probabilities of downgrading u.s. credit are increased. that will be an additional cloud over the economy and make it more difficult for us and more difficult for businesses to create jobs that the american people so desperately need. they will come down here at
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11:00 tomorrow. i expect them to have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done over the course of the next week. the american people expect action. i continue to believe that a package that is balanced and actually has serious debt and deficit reduction is the right way to go. the american people i think are fed up with political posturing and an inability for politicians to take responsible action as opposed to dodge their responsibilities. with that, i'm going to take questions ben? >> thank you, mr. president. you want the leaders back here at len:00 to give you an answer. what is your answer? what path do you prefer? also what does it say about your relationship with speaker boehner? >> well, with respect to my relationship with speaker
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boehner, we have always had a cordial relationship. we had very intense negotiations. i'm going to have my team brief you exactly on how the negotiations proceeded. up until sometime early today when i couldn't get a phone call returned, my expectation was that speaker boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing, but the right thing. i think it has proven difficult for speaker boehner to do that. i have been left at the altar a couple of times. i think that one of the questions that the republican party is going to have to ask itself is can they say yes to anything? the republican party said that the single most important thing facing our country is deficits and debts.
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we put forward a package that would significant ly cut and would be the biggest seen in a long time. it's accomplished without raising individual tax rates it's compatible with the pledge that a bunch of folks signed on to because we were mindful that they boxed themselves in. we tried to find a way to generate revenues in a way that did not put them in a bad spot. what can you say yes to? if their only answer is what they presented which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts to social security, medicare, domestic spending, with no revenues
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whatsoever, not asking anything from the wealthiest in this country or corporations that have been making record profits. if that's their only answer, then it's going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go. the american people are looking for compromise and willing balance timeout partisanship aside and a willingness to ignore talk radio or ignore activists in respective bases and do the right thing. to their credit, nancy pelosi, harry reid, and the democratic leadership did not like the plan we were proposing. they were at least willing to engage in a conversation because they understood how important it is for us to solve this problem
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so far i have not seen the capacity of the house republicans in particular to make those tough decisions the question becomes where is the leadership and how serious are you about debt and debt reduction. do you want it as a campaign ploy into the next election? in terms of where we go next, here's the thing we have to do. at minimum, we have to increase the debt ceiling. at minimum. i think we need to do more. as i said before, republican leader mcconnell in the senate put forward a plan that said he is going to go ahead and give me the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. that way folks in congress can vote against it, but at least it gets done. i'm willing to take the responsibility.
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that's my job. i'm happy to do it. what we are not going to do is continue to play games and string this along for another to nine months and have to go through the exercise all over again. that we are not going to do. jessica? >> mr. president, can you assure the people they will get their social security checks on august 3rd and if not, who is to blame? >> well, when it comes to all the checks and people with disabilities, about 70 million checks are sent out each month. if we default, we are going to have to make adjustments. i'm consulting with secretary geithner in terms of what the consequences would be. we should not even be in that kind of scenario
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if congress and in particular the house republicans are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then i think it's fair to say they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments let me repeat. i am not interested in finger points and not interested in blame, but i want the facts to speak for themselves. we have put forward a plan that is more generous to republican concerns than a bipartisan plan that was supported by a number of republican senators, including at least that is in republican leadership in the senate. now, i will leave it up to the american people to make a determination as to how fair that is.
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if the leadership cannot come to an agreement in terms of how we move forward, they will hold ought r all of us accountable. that should not be an option. i am getting letters from people who write me and say at the end of every month, i have to skip meals. senior citizens on social security who are just hanging on by a thread. folk who is have severe disabilities who are desperate every single month to try to figure out how they are going to make ends meet. it's not just those folks you have business contractors. they are providing services to the federal government are they going to get paid and what does it do to their payrolls? you have just a huge number of people who in way or another interact with the federal
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government. even if you don't, even if you are not a recipient of social security or get veterans benefits, imagine what that does to the economy when 70 million checks are put at risk. if you are a business out there, that is not good for growth. that's the number one concern of the american people. we have to get it done. not an option not to do it. >> your degree of confidence? >> i am confident because i cannot believe congress would end up being that irresponsible and send a package that avoids a self-inflicted wound to the economy at a time when things are so difficult. scott? >> can you explain why you were offering a deal that was more generous that you seem to be embracing on tuesday?
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>> because what had become apparent is that speaker boehner had difficulty in his caucus. they are a group of his caucus that think default would be okay and they would not vote for increasing under any circumstances. so i understand how they get themselves stirred up. the sharp idea logical lines they have drawn. my responsibility is to make sure that we avoid extraordinary difficulties to american people and american businesses unfortunately in these negotiations, you may not get 100% or even 60 or 70% of what you want. i was willing to try to persuade
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democratic leadership and members of congress that even a deal that is not as balanced as i think it should be is better than no deal at all. and i was willing to persuade democrats that getting a handle on debt and deficit reduction is important to democrats is as important to republicans. a lot of republicans are persuade by that. if you air progressive, you should want our fiscal house in order. once we do, it allows us to have a serious conversation about the investments we need to make like infrastructure and rebuilding our roads and bridges and airports like investing more in college education and focussing on research and technology that will help us win the future. it's easier to do when we have
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the fiscal house in order. i was willing to make that to a lot of skeptical democrats that's what you should expect. if this was easy, it would have been done i think a lot of the american people are so disappointed by is this sense that all the talk about the responsibility and the next generation and all the talk about making sacrifices, when it comes to doing something difficult, folks walk away. and the last point i will make, i have gone out of my way to say that both parties have to make compromises
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at least a democratic president has been willing to make tough compromises. when you write the stories, this is not a situation where somehow this was the usual food fight between democrats and republicans. a lot of democrats stepped up in ways that were not advantageous politically. we have shown ourselves willing to do the tough stuff. on an issue that republicans ran on. >> nora? >> mr. president, there seems to be an extraordinary break down of trust involved here. i wonder if you can address what we are hearing for republicans which is that there was a framework and a deal that was agreed with your chief of staff and the treasury secretary about the certain number of revenues that the republicans had agreed to that.
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after you brought that to your party and the discussion with that, the goal line was moved. is this an example of where the goal line has move and that that's what led to this break down in trust? >> we will go through all the paper. we will walk you through this process. what this came down to was that there doesn't seem to be a capacity to say yes. what is true is we wanted more revenue than they had initially offered. as you see, the spending cuts that we were prepared to engage in were at least as significant as the spending cuts you have seen in a whole range of bipartisan proposals and we had basically agreed within $10
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billion or $20 billion. we were within that range. that wasn't the reason this thing broke down. we were consistent in saying that it was going to be important for us to have at least enough revenue to protect current beneficiaries of social security, manager. we were going to have to throw people off the health care rules. we were consistent. i am not suggesting that we had an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered the parties were still apart as recently as yesterday. when you look at the overall package, there is no changing of the goal post. there has been a consistency in our part saying we are willing to make the tough cuts and we are willing to take on the eat,
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but there has to be a balance in the process. i have done that consistently throughout this process. with respect to this brick down in trust, i think that we have operated above board consistently. there haven't been any surprises i think it has to do with the seeming inability to arrive at any kind of position that compromises any of their idea logical preferences. none. you have heard it. i am not making this up. there a number of members of that caucus who have been clear about that. >> they would want to leave on revenues. >> absolutely. what you saw and again, you will
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see this from the description of the deal. essentially what what they agreed to give is to get back to a base line and this starts getting technical. there were about $800 billion in revenue that would be available. what we said was when you have a ratio of $4 in cuts for every $1 in revenue, that's hard to stomach. we think it's important to make sure that whatever additional revenue is in their covers, the amount of money being taken out of entitlement programs. that's only fair. if i'm saying to future recipients of social security and medicare that you will have to make adjustments, it's important that we're also willing to make adjust am when is it comes to corporate jet
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owners or oil and gas producers or people who are making millions or billions of dollars wendell? wendell is not here. leslie. is leslie here? >> yes. you said that your bottom line is in the big deal and that's not going to happen. are you going to be willing to go back to just a raising the debt ceiling still? >> i think i have been consistently saying it's important for us to raise the debt ceiling. we don't have an option on that. if that's the best that congress can do, then i will sign an extension of the debt ceiling that takes us through 2013.
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i don't think that's enough. i think we should do more. that's the bare minimum. that's the floor of what the american people expect us to do. i would like to see us do more and when i meet with the leadership tomorrow, i am going to say let's do more. if they tell me that's the best they can do, then i will sign an extension that goes to 2013. i will make the case to the american people. we can't keep putting it off. >> speaker boehner did not return the phone call this is afternoon? >> i'm less concerned about me having to wait for my phone call returned than i am the message that i received when i got the phone call. i will make this the last question. >> the markets are closed right now. what assurances can you give people on wall street.
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will you reach out to people on wall street so that when monday comes, they don't see a reaction to the news right now? >> it's important that the leadership understands that wall street will open on monday and we better have answers during the coarse of the next several days. >> what can you say to people who are working on wall street and might find the news a bit alarming? >> i think what you should say, here's what i'd say. i remain confident that we will get an extension of the debt limit and not default. i am confident of that. i am less confident at this point that people are willing to step up to the plate and actually deal with the underlying problem of debt and deficits. that requires tough choices. that's what we were sent here to do. the debt ceiling, that's a
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formality. historically this is not an issue. this is a routine vote that congress does presidentically. it was done 18 times when ronald reagan was president. reagan said default is not an option. it would be damage to the prestige of the united states. we shouldn't even consider it. that's the easy part. we should have done that six months ago. the hard part is actually dealing with the underlying debt and deficits. and doing it in a way that's fair. that's all the american people are looking for. some fairness i can't tell you how many letters and e-mails i get including from republican voters who say look, we know that neither party is blameless when it comes to how this debt and deficit developed. there has been a lot of blame to
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spread around. we sure hope you don't just balance the budget on the backs of seniors we sure hope that we're not slashing our commendment to make sure kids can go to college we hope that we are not throwing a bunch of poor kids off the medicaid to get basic preventive services that keep them out of the emergency room. that's all they are looking for. fairness. what you are going to hear, i suspect, is if you -- if the senate is prepared to pass the cap, cut, and balance bill, the republican plan, somehow we can solve this problem. that's serious debt reduction. it turns out that the plan that speaker boehner and i were talking about was comparable in terms of deficit reduction. the difference was we didn't put
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all the burden on the people who were least able to protect themselves who don't have lobbyists in this town and don't have lawyers working on the tax code for them ordinary folks who are struggling every day. they know they are getting a raw deal. they are mad at everybody about it. they are mad at democrats and mad at republicans. they know somehow no matter how hard they work, they don't seem to be able to keep up. what they are looking for is somebody who is willing to look out for them. that's all they are looking for. for us not to be keeping those folks in mind every day, when we are up here, for us to be more worried about what some funder said or talk radio show host said or columnist said or what
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pledge we signed back when we were trying to run or worrying about having a primary fight, for us to be thinking in those terms instead of thinking about those folks, it's inexcusable. the american people are desperate for folks who are willing to put aside politics and get stuff done. when nora asked or somebody else asked why was i willing to go along with the deal that was not optimal from my perspective, it was because even if i didn't think the deal was perfect, at least it would show that this place is serious. that we are willing to take on responsibilities even when it's tough. we are willing to step up even when the folks who help get us
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elected may disagree. at some point i think if you want to be a leader, you have to lead. thank you very much. >> there you have it, the president making a bold statement confirming what we knew. that the speaker of the house, john boehner cutoff all negotiations and all discussions with the white house on how to reach an agreement, a compromise that would allow the nation's debt ceiling to be raised by the august 2nd deadline the president dramatically announcing in effect he is summoning the republican and democratic leadership to come to the white house tomorrow morning at 11:00 eastern for a meeting to try to deal with the crisis and it's fair to say this is a crisis right now. the president saying something must be done to prevent the united states from defaulting on its obligations.
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jessica is our chief white house correspondent and was there with the president. i don't remember a time that i have seen this president of the united states as angry and frustrated as he has been over these past 35 minutes since he came to the podium. >> absolutely agree with you. he sounded frustrated and fed up. the white house no doubt keenly aware of the fact that in democrats, this is the third time republicans walked away from what would be a partial deal in the debt negotiations. the president is saying now that republicans don't know how to take yes for an answer. that's his view here tonight. the president laid out as you heard what he thought was the outlines of a deal that he said was more friendly and welcoming to republicans than to democrats. we reported all day yesterday on how he was fighting with his own party over it. he seemed stymied that republicans couldn't accept a deal that his own party, the
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democrats felt was an outrage to them. now he is up against the wall, facing this reality that they have to find a way to raise this debt ceiling. you heard him say he can accept this fall back option. that he drew a bright line again saying he would accept no short-term deal, only a deal that goes to the 2012 elections. there has been talk lately that possibly congress would give him a short-term deal. he said not going to happen. we will have to see what evolves over the weekend, but the pressure is mounding. you can tell here on the the white house, not a happy party. >> i'm sure that they are not happy. let me play a clip of what the president said to underscore the anger and frustration. here's the president. >> i am confident simply because i cannot believe that congress would end up being that irresponsible that they would not send a package that avoys a
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self-inflicted wound to the economy at a time when things are so difficult. up until sometime early today when i couldn't get a phone call returned, my expectation was that speaker boehner was going to be willing to go to his caucus and ask them to do the tough thing, but the right thing. i think it has proven difficult for speaker boehner to do that. i have been left at the altar a couple of times >> let's go to capitol hill. they broke the story for us and we are getting reaction already from the leadership. the republican leadership from the speaker and the minority leader in the senate. >> we're are getting reaction. generally speaking, i will get to that. while the senate majority leader is not happy to see that the negotiations are falling apart, he said he hospitals his president, but they seem to
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agree it's time to just work towards an end goal. get to the path and get to find a compromise to beat the deadline. i will tell you, one of the big questions is what is the path forward. as i said before the president came out, we heard from house republican sources on this. since they are leaving those talks, they don't know what the step forward is. they are making no judgment and no assumption other than the principals that house speaker john boehner laid out all along the two principals that we talked about so much. she is suspending the cuts and must be higher than any amount that the debt ceiling would be raised and the principal that he is standing by and that there no tax increases in this. to that point, we are now hearing the question of where is the path forward? according to ted, he is told by a leadership aide, one
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suggestion is to get ahead and beat the deadline. the deal could be a plan modelled on the senate fall back plan. you and i and jessica have been talking about connell reid fall back plan as a last ditch effort. that's a suggestion from a leadership aide that might be what they need to model it after. >> i'm not sure there would be enough votes in the house of representatives to get that. i want to go back to the white house in a moment. stand by for a second. jessica is there and i'm being told that john boehner is getting ready to make a statement? heel will make a statement soon. we will have it in about a half hour or so from now. jessica yellen, you have additional information? >> you hearded the president say
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he had cordial relationship with john boehner, the speaker of the house and did mention he was waiting on a phone call. i have a detail about that according to a democrat official familiar with the debt negotiations there was an offer out to the office and negotiators were waiting for the speaker's response. the president put a call in this morning and had been waiting for a reply. when he called the speaker this morning, the president i'm told was told the speaker is not available. he did not get that return call until 5:30 this morning. it was a day of waiting to see what the speaker would come back with. ultimately the no response. cordial relations, but there will be tension when they get together tomorrow. >> in that letter that the speaker wrote to his colleagues, the republican colleagues that -- let me read a little bit of that letter from the viewers.
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the president is emphatic that taxes have to be raised chlt as a former small businessman, i know increases destroy jobs. the president is adamant that we cannot make changes to the entitlement programs. as the father of two daughter, i know these programs won't be there for their generation unless action is taken now for these reasons, i have decided to end discussions with the white house and begin conversations with the leaders of the senate in an effort to find a path forward. mitch mcconnell, the republican minority leader in the senate said he is ready to move forward with the house leaders and try to come up with a sort of formula. is it your sense, jessica yellen that white house officials believe that that fail safe position that harry reid and mitch mcconnell had been working on to give the president the authority to raise the debt seelying and let there be resolutions of disapproval in
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the house or senate that would need to be passed, is it your sense that as of this stage, they have the votes in the house to pass it? >> everything so fluid right now, i can't go that far as to say that's what the white house feels. i have been speaking to sources both here and on capitol hill. the feedback i get is that there is no confidence and the votes for that, so that is one of the options everyone is looking at. there is a high degree of uncertainty that that could pass. they are looking at other options as well. connell reid is not a certainty. >> it's possible. it could pass and usually the 218 votes for majority in the house. right now they need 217 votes because there two vacant seats. i want to make another point? >> there is a sense here that things have to get worked out
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overnight. i would describe everything as very, very uncertainty and fluid. we can't describe any certainty on any of these plans. as the president said there is a background briefing going on and we will know more after that happens. >> we will know more and we'll have you back. let me bring in gloria, our chief political analyst. give us the big picture right now. this is a dramatic moment. i must point out having covered a lost these negotiations, it's always darkest before a break through. it's very dark right now. >> it really is. i think it's very rare as you pointed out in the beginning that we see the president pounding the podium asking questions like can they say yes to anything? complaining he was left at thealitiar or couldn't get a phone call returned from the house speaker or summoning the congressional leaders to the
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white house and saying "i expect them to have an answer." now, some people believe that perhaps president obama should have sounded like this a little bit earlier because he is now clearly frustrated, at his wit's end and saying i don't believe that we could cut any deal even though i gave as much as i could. there was no give on the other side. it's clear that the president is speaking to the individual voters, but he was clearly also speaking out of frustration. i know we are going to hear from john boehner. but honestly, it's very rare that you hear the president like this. he said in regard to the fall back plan that harry reid and mitch mcconnell came up with and it puts all responsibility on the president to raise the debt ceiling and it allows the republicans to vote against it and have it still pass. he seemed to be saying if that's
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the only way to get this done, i will take responsibility so long as we do it through 2013. wolf, this is a very different president from the one we saw a week ago who was still clearly trying to work on some kind of a grand bargain. at this point i think you have to say we are about ready to go to the back up plan. a republican on the hill described it to me as the break glass moment. >> it may be a little bit too little, too late. i want to go up to the hill to kate baldwin an hour or so ago. when the president of the united states said i'm not ready to play any games any further. this thing has gone on way too long and it's time to resolve this because the credit worthiness is at stake. i am confident it will be increased by the august 2nd
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deadline. is the republican leadership in the house and senate, do they agree with the president that they will in fact avoid default? >> they agree. thing that was very much emphasized from the house republican sources that we were speaking with as well as statements from the senate is that they do seem resolved. there is a level of seriousness we were told amongst republican leadership and democratic leadership on the hill. something needs to be agreed to. some compromise needs to be reached to beat the deadline. we should say that we have been saying this for weeks. there seems to be one thing that all groups and all sides agreed on. something needs to be done before this august 2nd deadline. the default in the minds of these leaders at the white house and on the hill is not an option. we continue to see these discussions with the details
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that are filtered out and they're working towards a deal and these break down the framework that was laid out on the deal they were working towards before things began to unravel was a significant deal. they called for changes to entitlement programs. medicare and social security and the way social security benefits are calculated. they have the framework for tax reform that republicans thought was healthy. they thought they reached agreement on these things. they were discussing that enforcement mechanism that we were talking about and how it's kind of like a penalty, if you will. to keep everything and work towards the tax reform. there was disagreement and they need to work that out. they had the idea that the house speaker, they were working towards an agreement. they believe when the gang of six came out to unveil the plan for a long-term deficit
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reduction, the white house position change and when they believe things gone to unravel. that's when now we know at this point how speaker boehner does note think in his view that the negotiations, the discussions are productive. he is pulling out and now changing his focus to capitol hill. shows up together with the other leaders tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. eastern at the white house. i want you to listen and our viewers to listen how the president of the united states just moments ago summoned the congressional leadership to the white house. >> we have now run out of time. i told speaker boehner, i've told democratic leader nancy pelosi, i've told harry reid, and i've told mitch mcconnell, i want them here at 11:00 tomorrow. we've run out of time, and they are going to have to explain to me how it is that we are going to avoid default. and they can come up with any plans that they want and bring
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them up here, and we will work on them. the only bottom line that i have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election. into 2013. >> the president had an ambitious agenda. jessica yellin still with us over in the white house in the briefing room, she was there when the president made that dramatic announcement. i assume, jessica, that there's no way the republican and democratic leadership, certainly not the democratic leadership, but the republican leadership, is going to say thanks, but no thanks, to 11:00 tomorrow morning. i assume they will be here. >> reporter: i assume they will be here. all sides want to get the debt ceiling raised, wolf, it's just a question of how. i have two additional pieces of information. this one coming from a congressional aide in response to the question you asked me, is the mcconnell/reid plan the operating plan, and i'm told that that is the basis for discussions this weekend, that the mcconnell/reid plan is the
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foundation and what they will build off of in their conversations moving forward. and secondly, a bit more on this ticktock, i had reported earlier that the president called speaker boehner this morning, was told the speaker is unavailable. and the president did not hear back from him until 5:30 p.m. tonight. according to a democrat familiar with the debt talks, speaker boehner told the media that the deal was off before he called the president. so -- and told him the same. so, that would no doubt add to the president's degree of frustration and fedupness that we saw on display in this room just a few moments ago, wolf. >> yeah. i guess they won't be playing golf anytime soon, these two gentlemen. but there's no doubt that if there would -- at least what i've heard in the past, is that if it were just the president and the speaker, they probably could have worked out some sort of compromise, but the speaker has to worry about a lot of really conservative tea party
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activists within his own caucus within the house of representatives, and he simply didn't have the votes to allow what they call revenue increases or tax increases. they didn't have the votes in the house republican caucus. >> reporter: well, that's true in the sense that he doesn't have necessarily the votes from his own republicans, but what you will hear back from democrats is in this instance if he wants to get the debt ceiling raised, then he has to negotiate and create space for democrats to vote yes. and they would argue that he has not been willing to add enough into this package to make it -- to sweeten it for democrats to say yes to it and that is ultimately why this deal has broken down, and that in a leadership moment he would have been willing to do that. that's the democrats' point of view. >> let's get some reaction, jessica, stand by for a moment, grover norquist is joining us on the phone right now. he's a powerful player behind the scenes here in washington. grover, give us your reaction to what we've just heard the dramatic announcement from the speaker. he was breaking off
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negotiations. the president responding. well, i'm sumening all of you to the white house tomorrow morning. give us your reaction. >> look, the president of the united states has known for seven months that boehner was willing to cut a deal on the following basis. if the president wanted $2.5 trillion in authority to borrow more, he had to come up with $2.5 trillion in spending restraint without a tax increase. that's been the rule since the beginning. he's known that if he wants to close down the government because he can't get a tax increase, he needs to make that case to the american people. >> are you ready, together with your supporters, grover norqu t norquist, to support what seems to be the only option right now, this fail-safe, fallback position, that mitch mcconnell and harry reid have been working on that would in effect give the president the authority to raise the debt ceiling? >> i would certainly argue that it is better to let the president make this decision all by himself as long as there's not a tax increase and not phony
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cuts. >> so, there won't be any tax increases in the reid/mcconnell compromise position, and that's better than allowing the country go into default. because as you know some tea party activists say let the country go into default instead of let the fail-safe position go forward. >> i understand the frustration some people have, but i think if they think it through, they'd realize that giving the president the power to have complete control over the budget, however diminished, would not end well. look, this is not the last time we're going to discuss this. there's an election in 2012. if you believe the country is with you, as i do, i believe the country wants lower taxes and less spending, let's go to the electorate and say let's get a different president, a different senate. the president's free to argue let's get a different house so we can raise taxes. >> so, in other words, what you're saying is you'd fully appreciate and agree with the president, you agree with the speaker, you agree with the democratic leadership that a
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default would be a disaster for the united states and it must be avoided at all costs. >> look, i assume it's a disaster. i think there's no reason to assume otherwise. it is gambling with the economics of the country to get that far. we need to get to where, first of all, we can cut some spending, not raise taxes. as much as you can get is as much as we should fight for. but, again, rather than close the government down or go into default, let's take it to the american people, go into the next election, and fix things then. >> grover norquist is the president for americans for tax reform. he's a powerful player in all of this, and you just heard him effectively say, yes, he agrees with the president of the united states, default must be avoided if absolutely essential. the best compromise would be to allow that proposal that mitch mcconnell and harry reid have been working on to go forward and then fight it out next year in the presidential election, the congressional elections, elections throughout the country.
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this is one of those dramatic days, one of those dramatic moments a lot of us will remember. it's not over with by any means. there will be negotiations, an effort tomorrow morning, 11:00 a.m., when the president of the united states meets with the leadership. here's what he said just a little while ago. >> or alternatively, how serious are you actually about debt and deficit reduction, or do you simply want it as a campaign ploy going into the next election? now, in terms of where we go next, here's the one thing that we've got to do. at minimum, we've got to increase the debt ceiling. at minimum. i think we need to do more than that. but as i've said before, republican leader mcconnell in the senate put forward a plan that said he's going to go ahead and give me the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling. that way folks in congress can vote against it, but at least it gets done. i'm willing to take the
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responsibility. that's my job. so, if they want to give me the responsibility to do it, i'm happy to do it. but what we're not going to do is to continue to play games and string this along for another eight, nine months and then have to go through this whole exercise all over again. that we're not going to do. jessica yellin? >> can you assure the american people that they will get their social security checks on august 3rd, and if not, who's to blame? >> well, when it comes to all the checks, not just social security, veterans, people with d disabilities, about 70 million checks are sent out each month, if we default, then we're going to have to make adjustments, and i'm already consulting with secretary geithner in terms of what the consequences would be. we should not even be in that
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kind of scenario. and if congress and in particular the house republicans, are not willing to make sure that we avoid default, then i think it's fair to say that they would have to take responsibility for whatever problems arise in those payments. because -- let me repeat, you know, i'm not interested in finger pointing, and i'm not interested in blame. but i just want the facts to speak for themselves. we have put forward a plan that is more generous to republican concerns than a bipartisan plan that was supported by a number of republican senators, including at least one that is in republican leadership in the senate. >> very dramatic moment in these negotiations to raise

The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer
CNN July 22, 2011 2:00pm-4:00pm PDT

News/Business. Wolf Blitzer. Traditional reporting and online resources update international news. New.

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